By Sara Baird
My son has said since he was little that “everything tastes better when you are camping”. I agree, there is just something about eating your meal outdoors in all kinds of weather that improves the flavor of everything.
As the head chef of our camping expeditions, I’ve faced my fair share of challenges in preparing our meals. I’m an enthusiastic cook and I’ve never shied away from cooking for my family no matter where my current kitchen is located. Even at home, I’ve logged many hours on our camp stove through kitchen remodeling projects. With this in mind, I was excited for the opportunity to try out the Windtamer to see how it would impact my outdoor cooking endeavors.
What is the Windtamer?
The Windtamer is essentially a tent that encloses your camp stove. It will keep your food dry, block wind, and hold the heat in. It even claims to save cooking fuel. The Windtamer arrived quickly but was missing the warming shelf, so inquired by email and received a friendly response in less than an hour. The shelf was shipped within the week.
The Windtamer is manufactured in California from materials sourced in the United States. As I assembled the Windtamer, my inner seamstress was a little bothered by unclipped threads and some messy but sturdy seams. This definitely has a handmade appearance but it won’t fall apart on you. It is designed to be used with a variety of stoves, grills, and can even withstand a small cooking fire. I found it simple to assemble. It comes in a large bag you can store your camp stove in as well.
How did it work?
I was thrilled to take advantage of a wonderful sunny 50-degree day with a good strong breeze to do my cooking outdoors. I first made a pot of baby potatoes in the dutch oven, they cooked for almost an hour during which the stove stayed lit. The potatoes tasted amazing! The Windtamer creates a convection effect and is advertised to work well for the type of dutch oven cooking you would do with coals.
I next tested that out with some apple crisp. I put the pot on a low flame and cooked it for about 40 minutes. It was just about perfect when I checked it. Of course, I then I bumped the flame control and left it for a few more minutes during which the bottom burned black. That was total user error, it would have been great if I had just pulled it off when I first checked on it.
I decided to cook breakfast, sausage and asparagus with scrambled eggs, outside the next day to try out something that required more active cooking. It was about 30 degrees outside. The Windtamer allowed me to cook this dish quickly and ensured the food was warm when we ate it even though it was 30 degrees out. Anyone who has cooked outdoors on a cold morning knows what it is like when your fresh cooked food is cold right from the pan. This is a great solution to that issue.
The fabric on the Wintamer will not catch on fire and will not melt until it reaches 770 degrees Farinhieght. I tested this out by accident when the connection to our stove came to lose and the Windtamer filled with propane. This led to a big dramatic poof of flame. It was quite the sight to see flames pouring out and definitely gave me a scare but I easily shut off the fuel and fixed the issue. The Wintamer came out with a small amount of discoloration but was otherwise perfectly fine.
Be sure to check your connections carefully before cooking and keep your fuel outside of the Windtamer if you can. I left the Wintamer up on my deck for two weeks through rain, snow, and wind and it held up perfectly. It also protected my camp stove and the cast iron skillet I forgot to bring inside.
Pros and Cons
- Easy to assemble
- Protects your stove flame from wind
- Light and easy to carry
- Provides great organization for your cooking station
- Made in California
- Bulky for packing and too big for most wilderness trips
- Looks pretty rustic (could be a pro as well)
- Expensive relative to cooking stoves
- Can not be used over a camper trailer outdoor kitchen stove because of the base
Do I Recommend It?
I have mixed feelings about this product. I think it would be a wonderful addition to an outdoor kitchen. I will use this one when I cook outdoors during our next remodel project. I will definitely bring it camping with us, especially in areas without bear issues where I can leave it set up. I was hoping it could be used over our outdoor kitchen on our 5th wheel but the design does not allow for that.
My holdback is the price, I don’t know that the value of this product would justify a price of over $100 unless I was going to use it frequently. This is probably more than the cost of the stove you will be cooking on. On the other hand, camp kitchens are comparable in price with similar options for organizing your supplies but they do not protect your stove and are likely to be harder to travel with. If you are a frequent camp cook this may be the perfect option for you. I would also recommend keeping an eye on this product at windtamercampstovecompanion.com as they actively ask for feedback and it appears that some different options will be available in the future.